News

South end sex offender sites have company in North Bend

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

The state Department of Social and Health Services has added another site to its list of potential locations for a transitional for civilly committed sex offenders.

DSHS announced last week that forest land near North Bend is the third site the state will consider for the facility, which will house up to a dozen convicted sex offenders who serve their prison sentences, receive treatment at the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island and become eligible for transition back into society.

The forest land joins a site in Peasley Canyon near Federal Way and one on Orillia Road near SeaTac. Both have encountered stiff opposition from residents of the areas, who don’t want designated housing for sexual predators in their communities.

Meanwhile, attorneys are working on an industrial site that Williams said is near being added to the list. “It’s so close I can taste it,” said DSHS spokesman Steve Williams, adding DSHS plans to make an announcement this week.

Metropolitan King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer, whose district includes Federal Way and other south end areas, commended the state’s decision to add the North Bend location to the list of possible sites.

“It is clearly the most viable of the three sites (the state is) considering,” he said. “In my opinion, the Peasley Canyon site is the least viable because of its population density.”

The state Department of Natural Resources, which is holding the North Bend forest land in trust, could lease the land to DSHS for 30 years in 10-year increments. After 10 years, the state agencies would reevaluate the price and issue a new lease.

Williams said the agencies haven’t entered into any kind of lease negotiations, but noted, “We have an understanding with DNR about how to go about it.”

Staff writer Erica Jahn: 925-5565, ejahn@fedwaymirror.com

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